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Sep 27, 2012 7:00am PDT
stock of the oceans and finding some amazing things. as mark phillips reports, french researchers say they found 1.5 million previously unknown species. >> reporter: it's a big expedition looking at some of the world's smallest but most important creatures. the terra is a sailing research vessel that has just completed a 21-year, 70,000-mile voyage looking for plankton, the microscopic creatures at the bottom of the food chain whose role is messivassive. >> they create oxygen, so incredibly important on the scale, and they take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. >> reporter: they collected sea water and found, they say, about 1.5 million species of plankton, twice the number previously known. they found something else, too. minute shreds of plastic. in fact, they found more plastic than plankton, especially in the a antarctic. >> we thought that areas like the antarctic were very pristine, being very isolated far away from humanity. the fact that we found plastic debris down there in terms of tens of thousands of pieces per square kilometer is really very sad because td because thi
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